one-handed entry

July 24, 2006

The rugs the cat puked on are finally in the big washing machine in the laundromat down the street.

The latest round of mouth sores are on the mend.

I cleaned the litter box this morning, as well as I could do without taking a toothbrush to every square millimeter.

Marlene and I went to my cousin's wedding this weekend in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We flew into Boston, courtesy of my parents, and were picked up and driven back to Norwood, courtesy of my Dad. The kids were great and the travel on either side of the visit went very smoothly.

All the horrible things I've done recently, like cancel the last meeting ever of my community group, and be obnoxious to a debt collector who called while I was folding the laundry – were last week, and since I turned thirty-six this weekend, in a sense they were last year. As Xian as I may be, that sense of distance is more reassuring to me than thinking about the blood of Jesus.

And a certain wife recovered from the insertion of her IUD over the weekend. And that certain wife took the day off and got to sleep in. Let the married reader understand. Now she's taken Georgia out to lunch and I may even get to vacuum the floor (via robot, courtesy of my brother).

My cousin took me aside at the wedding reception to share with me how the arrival of the second kid nearly spelled breakdown for her and divorce for her and her husband. She's right – it's hard. But today, things are looking up.


[excerpted from a talk he gave to attendees of a Biota conference at Magdelene College Cambridge, in September 1998. You can find the full talk at
where you'll also find that I've edited it down.]

I suspect that as we become more conversant with the way in which the computer models the process of simple elements giving rise to complex results, then the idea of life being an emergent phenomenon will become easier to swallow. Read the rest of this entry »

two-handed entry

July 6, 2006

Waiting for Eli to fall asleep so I can take a nap.

Yesterday was a good day.  Laurie helped me with the kids while we went to CostCo, another friend from the community group came over early to help out, and then during c/g itself Edlyn, one of the best babysitters we've ever had, came back after a long hiatus.  She brought her daughter, and Georgia really likes it when she does that.  When she heard Edlyn was coming, Gigi said, “Edlyn is nice.  Edlyn gives hugs and kisses.”   Anyway, and then it was the first time seeing the group again in a month – I've been afraid to convene the group because I've been so bitter – “cranky Christian,” is the phrase I'm using – but it was good to be together again.  We looked at the first chapter of James, which is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  Although it condemns doubt and calls it counter-productive, it at least mentions doubt.   James calls doubters “double-minded men,” which is a really vivid and evocative expression.  I very much feel double-minded, and have so felt a lot of my adult life. 

The friend from group who came over to help – she helped out a little, but we spent a good chunk of the time talking about what was going on in her life – so much of it not good.  This is someone I've known for a while, and I've never known her when she wasn't suffering.  Out of work, or torn apart by family strife, or physically unwell.  Whenever you're tempted to think that worshipping God puts you in some protective custody under angelic oversight, it's good to have some folks like that in your life – to remind you that circumstances can take any number of turns.  The issue with this friend is that, when it's the distress is so never-ending, you wonder if God is really sovereign over her life.  She herself says, “God has always made a way for me,” but I can't help but wonder if she really receives God's blessings with gratitude or whether instead she sabotages her own life, so that she is always waiting for God to open the next door.  This is one of those forbidden thoughts.  How do you talk about such a thing?

There's a great line from Changing Lanes, an interesting but middling movie, where Samuel L. Jackson is told by William Hurt (the Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor to Johnson's recovering alcoholic):  “Clearly, alcohol is not your drug of choice.  You are addicted to crisis!”

I haven't heard Eli in a while.  I'll go see what's up – and perhaps soon I'll be gratefully down.

one-handed entry

July 1, 2006

Not one-handed for any naughty reason, I'm holding Elijah in the crook of my arm with my hand curled around holding his bottle in place.  Read the rest of this entry »